MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens didn’t have an answer for James van Riemsdyk and his linemates Wednesday.
The Flyers left-winger scored twice, including the winner on the power play in the third, as Philadelphia held off the Montreal Canadiens 5-3.
Trailing 3-1 in the third, Montreal got goals from Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta less than two minutes apart to tie things.
But with Plekanec off in the box for slashing, van Riemsdyk made the Canadiens pay, beating Carey Price on a rebound for his second of the night at 14:27.
“(The Canadiens) skated really well and pressed the puck really well. In the third period they caught up to us,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. “I don’t think we were at our best tonight but we kept at it, kept working and didn’t give in.”
The line of van Riemsdyk, Jeff Carter and Nikolay Zherdev gave the Canadiens fits all night, combining for seven points. Carter had a goal and two assists, while Zherdev also scored.
“Personally for our line it was a good game,” said Carter. “We’ve been working hard and getting chances last few games and haven’t been capitalizing so it was nice to get a few in.
“It wasn’t one of best efforts but we’ll take the two points and get out of here.”
Claude Giroux had the other goal for the Flyers, while P.K Subban scored for Montreal.
Philadelphia (21-7-5) opened the scoring with just 17.3 seconds left in a tentative first period. Carter got behind the Canadiens defence and went backhand to beat Price.
Van Riemsdyk doubled the Philadelphia lead at 2:33 of the second when his centring pass banked off Canadiens defenceman Hal Gill’s skate and past Price.
Montreal (18-11-2) found its legs as the period wore, outshooting the Flyers 17-8 overall and getting on the board thanks to an extended 5-on-3 power play.
Scott Gomez put a pass right on Subban’s stick and the rookie defenceman wired a shot past Flyers starter Sergei Bobrovsky at 18:09.
“It was almost like a playoff game, you want to win the game. You want to do what you can to get the two points but it didn’t happen for us,” said Subban.
Zherdev restored Philadelphia’s two-goal lead at 5:31 of the third, skating past Gill and wrapping the puck around on Price.
Montreal got that one back just 1:30 later as Plekanec scored on a scramble in front after Bobrovsky couldn’t freeze the puck through a maze of legs.
Gionta then evened the game at 9:55, beating Bobrovsky on a shot that just trickled through his pads.
After van Riemsdyk restored the Flyers lead on the man advantage, Giroux deked Price for an insurance goal.
Max Pacioretty made his season debut with Montreal after getting called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. He finished with three shots on goal and an even rating in 16:20 of ice time.
“In the first period as much as I want to say I wasn’t nervous it’s still in front of 20,000 people, it’s definitely nerve racking,” said Pacioretty. “I think in the second period I settled down a bit, I was a little more of an offensive threat and hopefully I can build off that.”
It was Philadelphia’s fourth straight win and second straight against Montreal. The Flyers are 6-0-1 in their last seven road games and have only allowed 13 goals in the process.
Notes: Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger spent the third period in the locker-room with an undisclosed injury. … Montreal outshot Philadelphia 40-30. … The Flyers added Michael Leighton to their roster after Tuesday’s win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Leighton has been sidelined much of the season after undergoing back surgery. He didn’t suit up Wednesday. … Jody Shelley served the second game of a two game suspension for hitting Boston’s Adam McQuaid from behind Saturday.